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Why I Said Goodbye to My Smart Phone

My hands were trembling on the steering wheel as I sat in the parking lot. I had already made a decision I’d been pondering for months and dangit, it was the right decision. Still, my size 11 feet stayed glued to the dusty floor mats of my silver Honda Accord and refused to budge.

I didn’t want to go in. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. We’d had so many good times together. So many pictures, games, laughs.

“This is crazy,” I thought. You have literally lost your mind. After a few moments went by I thought – and I am so proud of you. Finally I took in a deep breath and bolted out of the car onto the hot pavement. I walked into the Verizon Wireless store and officially said goodbye to my smart phone.

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“Why are you going back to a regular phone?” The concerned phone specialist asked me like I had cancer or something.

“Because I want to.” I finally said. Suddenly he looked like he was trying to solve a calculus problem.

As many of you know, I went on an incredible mission trip to Haiti in June. As with all of my missions, the hardest part has never the weather or the illness, the poverty or the cultural boundaries – it is always the struggle of returning home. You can’t spend time in the poorest country in the western hemisphere and not look at America in a different way.

There I sat on the roof of the M house in Port-au-Prince, Haiti late in the evening as the temperatures finally conceded with the sun setting behind the mountains. Surrounded by twelve incredible high school students sitting in plastic patio chairs, one of the other leaders asked, “what is one thing that surprised you about coming to Haiti.”

One student spoke up and shared that she didn’t miss her phone or Facebook or any of that craziness.

I completely agreed.

If you’ve sat amongst a group a teenagers lately, it’s normal that they will all staring at their individual phones. If there is any sort of activity, someone will be there to Snapchat and Instagram it. The truth is, this isn’t just true of teenagers, it’s our new way of life in every restaurant, every store, in every line. When I got back from Haiti I knew one thing for sure: I don’t want that for my life.

I want to look people in the eyes and be completely with them. I want to spend my free time reading books, writing books, and noticing the people God has placed before me. I am as guilty as anyone of combing through Facebook 18 times a day for no reason.

Since Haiti, I’ve rationalized the need for a smart phone in every way. I need it for Navigation. What if I miss an email or a Facebook message. I need it to DJ. Finally, I looked at the money aspect.

Contract Savings: $50 a month.

Phone Insurance Savings: $9.99

$60 a month I could be saving? That’s $720 a year to not be addicted to a phone! I immediately decided I wanted to use that extra money for good so I pledged $34 a month to sponsor my friend Kiki.

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Immaculouith Jean Baptiste cannot walk or talk. Ki Ki lost both parents in the 2010 earthquake. He is the constant “smiler” at the M House.

Kiki brought more joy to my life in 10 days than almost anyone I’ve ever met. He is an unbelievable light in this world and I would suffer greatly so He can have a beautiful place to live and thrive. Luckily, I only have to face a slight inconvenience.

Three days into this new way of life, I am having nothing but pure joy! Every time I fight the urge to check my phone, I say a quick prayer.

Thank you God for this beautiful day. God, bless Kiki today. Be with Him and give him strength. God, please be give that woman the power she needs to quit smoking.

As I slouched over the grey customer service desk drowning in a sea of bright smart phones, the clerk was still so confused about my decision.

“It’s like your going back to the dark ages, man. Like when a phone was just a phone.”

“You’re right it’s so awesome!” I smiled back.

This is for you Kiki, I thought and picked up my flip phone. Love ya buddy.

 

To sponsor your own child or to partner with a number of their incredible projects around the world visit Beyond Our Door, http://beyondourdoorglobal.org/mephibosheth.php or contact my friend, Steve Hanson at steve@beyondourdoor.org.

Click here to read about how you can sponsor your own child in Haiti with Special Needs. I would love to share more with you about each of the kids!


The song “Look On Up” can be found in my music playlist, “Recklessly Alive.”

Check out all my Music Playlists Here.

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About Sam

in love with all things Jesus, music, adventure, writing, teaching, laughter, running, friendship. Founder of recklesslyalive.com.

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15 comments

  1. Wow! I so applaud your tough decision!
    There is life before/after smart phones. 🙂
    We didn’t know we ‘needed’ them until we had them in hand.
    I try to keep use to a minimum.
    I still appreciate and rely upon a good ol’ map.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sam this is awesome. You are taking a huge step of faith and I applaud you. I can’t wait to hear follow up stories from this decision and the impact it’s having on other’s faith!

  3. That is such a brave thing to do, Sam! I have to say, I definitely don’t like how all the teenagers are so addicted to their phones and it is difficult to get them to even look up from their phone when talking to them (although I confess I do just the same every now and then with my phone). I’m sure the Lord will bless all that time not spent looking at your phone. 🙂

  4. Let me give you a round of applause. You’re amazing. Right now my smartphone is really helping me keep organized so I guess I’m holding on to it much longer. 🙂

  5. Oh why did you have to go and write this amazing, encouraging, challenging post??! Why???

    I have been struggling lately with the amount of time I spend in a day on screens. But I’ve been ignoring it, convincing myself that all is fine. “I get outside enough. I send enough time out with christian friends. I eat dinner with my family. It’s all good; I’m not on screens too much.”
    But it was like God had planted a seed, and its been growing bigger and spreading roots to the point where I can’t ignore it as easily any more. The real clue was when both my smart phone and my lap top simultaneously crashed. But rather than take the hint, stubborn me began stressing about money. How was I going to be able to afford a new cell phone and a new lap top???
    And then God put this post in front of me and every word hurt so good!
    I wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to write this! It has inspired me to refrain from buying another lap top, and to seriously consider down grading my phone. I need to start dedicating the time I have been spending on screens to God.
    God Bless and I hope you have a great rest of you smart phone free day!
    Catherine

  6. I love this! Thanks for taking the jump that so many of us long to take. I, too, rationalize and think about all of the “conveniences” I would be missing. But not being in real community, not really hearing the people I’m with, not intentionally showing them Jesus-love – that is a much bigger problem. Thanks for sharing your journey about this, and for listening to the Lord’s calling.

  7. Wow! God is working so powerfully in your life, Sam! I love how attentive you are to Him in your life. What an inspiration you are to me! Thank you for sharing with us and living a life blessing others. 🙂

  8. I really appreciate your professional approach. These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.

  9. This made my heart smile. I have considered it. If my husband had his way we would totally all have flip phones. Totally inspired, thanks for sharing!

  10. I totally did this too! Everyone around me thinks I’m crazy. The only thing I sometimes miss is being able to text easier. Which usually leads me to picking up the phone and calling, so its not all bad. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one 🙂

    • Yes, Shelly! Finally someone who gets it! I still get crazy looks and “oh my gosh what happened to your real phone.” I’m still smiling and loving my regular and inexpensive phone!

  11. Oh, geez, I didn’t expect a post about smart phones to bring a tear to my eye! I’m not quite ready to give mine up, but I am challenging myself to turn off notifications starting April 1. Hopefully it leads to less distractions and more time interacting with the humans in my life. Because Twitter can wait.

  12. Yeah! I have a “smart phone” but no wifi service for it 🙂 My hubby still uses a flip phone if we are on the internet it is at a computer….totally old school around here. It is a blessing. I take my daughter to dance every Saturday and sit in a room full of adults glued to their phone for the majority of the time the kids are in class. And people wonder why they don’t have connections (or good friends) because we are over connected on social media where ever we go! It seem to be more important to post a picture in the moment inside of being present. Really we can post pics anytime. Love your article! Agree 100%

  13. This is SO great Sam! Good on you 🙂
    It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about for a while and your post really made me think. I love that the money you’re saving is directed to bettering someone else’s life … going smart phone free is blessing even more people than just you! 🙂 Thank you for having a servant heart and living like Jesus in this world – it’s clear to see you value people’s hearts just like He does!

  14. Wow Sam a great post. I lived in Mexico for four months and I know what you mean about coming back home.Till this day it drives me nuts when I see people waste water. I don’t have smart phone -I just have a kindle that was gifted to me but I must admit I am on it frequently. Usually when I am laid up in bed or really anxious. (which unfortunately is more often than I would like.) It helps keep my mind off things but I really should cut back, Gosh I don’t know if I could quit cold turkey…Your quite a guy Sam God is doing great things through you. Please keep me in prayer as I pray for you. In Christ,

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